Being healthy at home and in one's personal life is becoming one area of focus for many companies across the United States. However, we often forget about keeping ourselves well throughout the working day. With an estimated $576 billion lost in the U.S. economy due to illness, disability, and workers' compensation (Forbes, 9/12/12), the need for staying healthy at work is at an all-time high. We have some tips for staying health-conscious in the workplace.
Take breaks. Stress causes an incredible amount of illness and can also distract workers, making workplace injuries much more likely. Taking a breather between projects will also boost productivity. Take a quick walk outside or lay your head down for a moment in order to reduce workplace stress.
Eat healthier and drink water. It is very easy to hit your favorite burger joint at lunchtime or even to skip lunch due to a heavy workload. However, these habits cause our bodies to function poorly, effectively lowering productivity. That extra time you spent at your desk without eating a proper meal can slow you down for the rest of the afternoon. Drinking lots of coffee and sugary drinks at work can also make your work suffer when you crash. When your body is working well, your work will improve greatly.
Get enough rest at night. A huge loss in productivity is caused by presenteeism, the concept that people are at work but are not working to their full potential due to exhaustion, illness, or other problems. Getting enough sleep at night can improve health, help you lose weight, and improve focus dramatically. You will feel less stressed and will be able to accomplish more on a full night's rest.
Keep your work area clean. Germs are everywhere and are very easily transferred. Keep hand sanitizer at your work station as well as some antibacterial wipes that you can use to clean up at least once a month. Your mouse, keyboard, and phone can harbor contaminants, and wiping them clean from time to time will help to keep preventable sicknesses away.
Stay home when you are not well. If you are sick, coming in to the office can be a catastrophe, as you can infect the rest of your colleagues. It is tempting to come in to work and suffer through the day so as not to fall behind or use up valuable sick days, but this is inconsiderate and will end up reducing your team's productivity in the long run, as more people could miss days from catching your illness. Take the time to get better at home.
Managers should be aware of the various pitfalls at work that can lead to an unhealthy staff. Encourage your team to have healthy habits and give them some slack to be able to take the time they need to be well. This will cause productivity to soar and will lead to a happier staff that will work well together and have less unnecessary stress.
Readers: What measures do you take to remain healthy during your work day?